The four main cast member of I Know What You Did Last Summer.
IMDb | Mandalay Entertainment via IMDb

Behind-The-Scenes Facts About 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' We Didn't Know Before

1997 was a pretty wild year for movies. After all, it's the year when Titanic released. But among the great, not-so-great, and in-between movies that came out that year is I Know What You Did Last Summer, a '90s thriller that borrows a lot from the '80s slasher genre.

Like any movie, there are a lot of really interesting behind-the-scenes details that show how much work went into filming and producing. Here are just some of them.

Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar had their own car "incident."

Jennifer Love Hewitt opening the "I know what you did last summer" note.
Giphy | Coolidge Corner Theatre

Even if you've never seen IKWYDLS, you're bound to know that it revolves around a group of kids who hit a man with their car and (unsuccessfully) try to cover it up. But on-set, there was a real, though much less serious incident.

Basically, Sarah Michelle Gellar got a rental car stuck in a sand dune.

A shot of all four cast members of the film.
Giphy | Coolidge Corner Theatre

"One night Sarah Michelle and I decided to take my rental car on the beach," Ryan Philippe told Yahoo. "We ended up getting stuck in a sand dune and having to call a tow truck in the middle of the night — all in fear of the producers finding out and we’d be fired!"

Luckily, they didn't get fired.

Reese Witherspoon was originally offered the role of Julie.

Reese Witherspoon as she appeared in Big Little Lies.
Giphy | Big Little Lies

The role of Julie, which ultimately went to Jennifer Love Hewitt, was offered to Reese Witherspoon. She turned it down, but according to director Jim Gillespie, she was the one who suggested her then-boyfriend Ryan Phillippe, who was cast as Barry.

Melissa Joan Hart also turned down a role in the movie.

Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Giphy | Paramount+

Speaking with Business Insider, Hart said she auditioned for Scream but didn't get the part. "I was offered I Know What You Did Last Summer, and I just thought it was a ripoff of Scream," she said.

Of course, both films were written by Kevin Williamson.

Meanwhile, Freddie Prinze Jr. almost lost out on his role.

Freddie Prinze Jr as Rayin the film.
IMDb | Mandalay Entertainment via IMDb

Prinze, who plays Ray in the film, had a pretty tough time keeping the role. Gillespie told Digital Spy, "Nobody wanted Freddie; they thought he was too soft, he wasn't muscular enough, so Freddie probably screen-tested four or five times." But the actor worked out and got lean, and the crew finally okayed it.

And Sarah Michelle Gellar almost wasn't cast, either.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Helen.
IMDb | Mandalay Entertainment via IMDb

In the same interview, Gillespie said that, while he thought Gellar was a good choice, he had to fight the studio over it. According to him, "They thought she had a Jewish princess, Valley Girl feel to her." But he ultimately got his wish.

The movie's villain resembles a real-life mascot.

The main villain of I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Giphy |

The main villain of IKWYDLS is a fisherman dressed in rain gear, terrorizing the teens with a fish hook. Murderous intent aside, he bears a striking resemblance to the Gorton's Seafood mascot, who wears a recognizable yellow rain outfit.

Originally, they were going to reference Gorton's in the movie.

Williamson said he had a line in it that Helen (played by Gellar) was going to say. "When she’s talking about going to the parade,” Williamson told Entertainment Weekly, ”she said, ‘I’m supposed to look for the fish-stick guy?"

They ultimately cut the line out because it seemed to make the villain less scary.

At least, that was director Jim Gillespie's reasoning for having the line cut. Either way, you can probably make the connection between the creepy fisherman and Gorton's on your own.

The movie was based off a book.

Jennifer Love Hewitt with Sarah Michelle Gellar.
IMDb | Mandalay Entertainment via IMDb

The book, also titled I Know What You Did Last Summer, was released in 1973 by author Lois Duncan. The book is actually way different from the movie; it's a young adult thriller, rather than a full out slasher.

And in fact, Duncan actually hated the movie version.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. in IKWYDLS.
IMDb | Mandalay Entertainment via IMDb

She sees the content of the film as sensationalized, saying, "I was appalled when my book, I Know What You Did Last Summer, was made into a slasher film. As the mother of a murdered child, I don't find violent death something to squeal and giggle about."

The film shares a filming location with 'Dawson's Creek.'

Kevin Williamson, responsible for IKWYDLS's screenplay, was also beginning to film the pilot for Dawson's Creek at the same time of the film's production. He ended up using the same docks in both the movie and the show's pilot.

A fan is responsible for the film's most iconic moment.

Jennifer Love Hewitt standing in the street yelling, "What are you waiting for, huh?" ended up being one of the most memorable moments from IKWYDLS. It was all thanks to a fan who had won a contest to come down and create a moment for the movie.

Hewitt remembered not being sold on the scene.

Jennifer Love Hewitt saying, "What are you waiting for?" In I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Giphy |

She said to Us Weekly in an interview, "I have no idea where he is but he’s like I want her to stand in the street and turn around and just scream ‘What are you waiting for, huh?’ I was literally like, ‘Are you kidding me right now? This is what I’m gonna do? OK. This was a great idea."

The film's casting heavily influenced 'Cruel Intentions.'

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe in Cruel Intentions.
Giphy | Entertainment GIFs

Ryan Philippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar went on to star in Cruel Intentions. According to the film's director, Roger Krumble, he'd met with IKWYDLS producer Neal Moritz who recommended the two, and the rest is history.

Funny enough, Reese Witherspoon (who turned down IKWYDLS) ended up in Cruel Intentions, too.

A script for a remake was written by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard.

Victoria Pedretti in The Haunting of Hill House.
Giphy | NETFLIX

Flanagan and Howard, who have worked together on Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Haunting of Hill House, and Midnight Mass, also created a script for an I Know What You Did Last Summer reboot film. Unfortunately, that was back in 2014, and it's unclear if it'll ever get made. It also doesn't seem to be tied to the 2021 reboot series.

The film was inspired by 'Halloween' and 'Jaws.'

Michael Myers, the main villain of the Halloween series.
Giphy |

Gillespie discussed how he used the settings of both Halloween and Jaws as inspiration for his film's aesthetic feel. "[Halloween is] not a gory film. I like the mood of it. I didn't want to rip it off, but the feel of it was something I took from."

"And 'Jaws,' funnily enough, is a film I watched as well because it's set in a seaside town and I wanted the feel of that."

The menacing shark from the film Jaws.
Giphy |

"So there's lots of stuff that nods to Jaws — Fourth of July parades, all those things. We amped it up with a Croaker Festival."

Miramax sued Sony over the film's tagline.

Elsa telling Julie to "eat me."
Giphy |

I Know What You Did Last Summer used the tagline "from the creator of Scream," in reference to Williamson having written both films. Miramax sued, stating that director Wes Craven was also a creator of Scream, which made the line misleading. Miramax won.

The film had an alternate, less popular ending.

The original ending saw Julie getting an email that said, "I STILL KNOW." Gillespie hated it and filmed it in the most boring way possible in order to get it cut. That made way for the ending we now all know and love.